Choir Directors and Staff

Steve Stevens, Columbia Choirs Founder - Artistic DirectorSTEVE STEVENS: Founder-Artistic Director

Columbia Choirs founder-artistic director, Steve Stevens, started the choirs in February, 1984. He is one of the most experienced conductors of community based children’s choirs in the United States.  A native of Texas (Fort Worth), Mr. Stevens is a professional singer, conductor, adjudicator, clinician, arranger and composer. He holds a BA (voice and all-level music education) from Houston Baptist University and a M.Mus. in Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University. He has conducted the Texas Boys Choir (1971-77), the Northwest Boychoir (1977-84), founded and conducted the Northwest Youthchoir (1982-84). He founded the Columbia Boys Choir (1984), Columbia Girls Choir (1988) which he joined together to become the Columbia Children’s Choir in 1993.  In 1989 he founded the Columbia Vocal Ensemble, in 1999 the “Con Brio” Women’s Choir, and in 2009 he founded Concord Chamber Choir. Choirs under his direction have consistently won international acclaim for their high standard of singing artistry and musicianship. His choirs have performed in United States, Australia, British Isles, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and Scandinavia. They have also appeared on national network television in the U.S.A., Europe, Japan and Russia and have sung for a President of the U.S., the Pope, and for members of the British Royal Family. Contact Steve Stevens at info@columbiachoirs.com.

DORI BAUNSGARD: Assistant Conductor

Dori is a Pacific Northwest native who recently returned to Seattle after conducting choirs and teaching music for many years in Tokyo, Japan. In Tokyo her choirs were known for not only their beautiful sound and excellent musicianship, but also for their interesting and innovative repertoire. Ms. Baunsgard has an avid interest in multiple styles and genre of music, including world music. Since Dori’s return to Seattle she has held a variety of music positions and most recently worked as the Interim Choral Director at University Presbyterian Church. Dori is also an accomplished pianist and accompanies for many local groups and soloists. In her accompanying career she has played for many top conductors, including Henry Leck, Edith Copely and Elena Sharkova. She has also worked extensively in musical theater, and has been the musical director for numerous shows, including coaching and performing Bulgarian choral music for a production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Tokyo International Players. Dori holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Seattle Pacific University and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting with a minor in Theater from Western Washington University. She is excited to be a part of the Columbia Choirs organization!

JENNIFER FAUL: Lyrica Director

Jennifer Faul has been making music with Columbia Choirs since 1998. She currently directs Harmonia, and formerly accompanied the Cantabile Vocal Ensemble and Con Brio Women’s Choir for many years. Mrs. Faul earned her bachelors degree in music education in 1998 from the University of Washington, and her masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction shortly thereafter. She also enjoyed earning her Level 1 Kodaly certification at Seattle Pacific University. Her teaching experience includes elementary general music in the Bellevue School District for five years, Children’s Choir Director of Magnolia Presbyterian Church for nine years, and ongoing private piano and voice instruction.

ERIN ROBERTS: Harmonia Director

Erin Roberts joined Columbia choirs in 2014 as a vocalist in Con Brio and as an accompanist for Ragazzi boys choir. She currently is a music specialist, where she offers classroom instruction to grades 1 through 8, and is also director for the afterschool music program at Hamlin Robinson School (HRS) in Seattle. Prior to HRS Erin worked as music teacher for The Little School in Bellevue and Toronto Montessori Schools in Ontario Canada. Erin holds a B.Ed in music education from the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, Canada, as well as a HBA in music from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, where her honors thesis project focused on choral conducting and chamber choirs. While in Ontario Erin actively volunteered with the New Apostolic Church, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, as a choral conductor, organist and director of the children’s music program.

KELLY FOSTER GRIFFIN: Interim Melodia Director, Ragazzi Director

Kelly Foster Griffin graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a B.A. in Music Education, holds a Kodály Certificate from the Kodály Musical Training Institute at Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford and a Master of Music in Music Education with Kodály Emphasis from Holy Names College in Oakland, California. Professionally, Kelly Foster Griffin is a National Board Certified Teacher who has taught K-6 music in the Northshore School District since 1988. She teaches musicianship classes for the Columbia Choir of Metropolitan Seattle, and is the co-founder and former executive director of the non-profit arts camp, Summer Fun! – A Music, Theatre and Visual Arts Day Camp for Children from 1993 to 2010.  Currently she is serving as president of The Organization of American Kodály Educators and has presented Kodály workshops and clinics for many regional musical organizations including: Washington Music Educators Association, Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, Evergreen Orff Chapter, Suzuki Association of Washington, Dalcroze Society of America and the Northwest Kodály Educators.  She has been on the Columbia Choirs staff since 1986.

ALINA GIBITZ STROH: Melodia Director

Alina Gibitz Stroh joined the Columbia staff in July, 2015 as the Melodia Choir director. She is also an elementary music specialist in the Lake Washington School District (Kirkland, Washington State). Known for her high-energy and joy in working with children, she holds a Level Three Certification in Kodaly Training from Seattle Pacific University and is currently the President of Northwest Kodaly Educators. Alina is passionate about sharing the Kodaly methodology with others and has presented numerous times to other music teachers in the area. Previously she has served as a choir director at Pacifica Children’s Chorus in Seattle, WA. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of The Ohio State University, she earned a BME in Music Education and a BA in Spanish. During her studies at OSU, she traveled to Spain where she sang with La Coral Ciudad de Granada (Municipal Choir of Granada) in Granada, with which she performed in many baroque cathedrals throughout Spain. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and her husband, who is also a musician.

DEE SALES: Prima Director

Dee Sales earned her Bachelor Degree of Music – Music Education at the University of North Texas, with training that includes performance in voice, piano, choral directing and pipe organ. , Locating to the Northwest in 2001, Dee became certified in all levels of Musikgarten, and instructs private vocal and piano students who participate in Music Development/Royal Conservatory exams and National Piano Playing Guild Auditions. Also a general music schoolteacher, she has designed and implemented music programs for private pre-schools, elementaries, and junior high schools. Her association memberships include Edmonds Music Teachers Association, and National Music Teachers Association (MTNA), the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the Washington Association of Educators of Young Children (NAEYC). Dee and her husband, Dan, a jazz & classical guitarist, pianist, composer and arranger, own and operate Dee’s Music Room, a private music teaching studio in Bothell, WA.

ANN ERICKSON: Vocal Coach

Ann Erickson is a well-known music educator, singer, conductor and voice teacher in the Pacific Northwest. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. and a Master’s Degree in Music Education. She has performed as soprano soloist with Dr. Robert Scandrett, with Roger Wagner, with George Shangrow and the Seattle Chamber Singers, and with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra. Her voice teachers include Edison Harris, Madam Re Koster, Madi Bacon and Marianne Weltmann. She has taught voice at Seattle Central Community College and at Western Washington University. After many years as a public school music teacher in Seattle and Shoreline, and as assistant conductor with the San Francisco Boy Chorus, the Northwest Boys Chorus and Columbia Choirs, she will continue as voice teacher and vocal coach in her studio in Lake Forest Park.

VICKI NURRE:  Accompanist – Bel Canto

Vicki Nurre (BM University of Kansas, in composition, MM University of Kansas, in flute performance), has had a wide-ranging career in music, covering over 40 years,in chamber music, church music, teaching (both privately and in private schools) and children’s choirs. She spent 8 years working with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir before coming to Columbia Choirs in 2003. She has several original published works and arrangements for children’s choir. In addition to her work with the choir, she teaches music theory and maintains a private studio for flute and piano instruction.

BARBARA JOHNSTON:  Accompanist – Harmonia

Barbara’s long relationship with the piano includes several notable milestones. She took first place in her high school’s annual state competition during her graduation year. In college, she was selected to represent her school in summer performance groups and was the principal pianist for her college’s choir for three years. Upon graduation she has put her skills to use primarily as a sacred music ensemble member at her church demonstrating proficiency in piano, organ, and keyboard. Barbara has worked with Columbia Choirs since 2007 accompanying the Melodia & Harmonia in Redmond. She has enjoyed watching her two youngest children grow as members of Columbia Choirs since 2008.

GENEVIEVE PEASLEE:  Accompanist – Lyrica, Cantabile, Con Brio

Genevieve Peaslee earned a B.A. in Piano Performance from Scripps College and has also studied at the Colburn School in Los Angeles and the Accademia Internazionale della Musica in Milan. Her collaborative piano experience began with the choirs at her junior high school and now includes chamber music and vocal accompaniment studies at Scripps, work with advanced voice students at Chapman University’s Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music, and dance accompaniment at the California Institute of the Arts, Pomona College, and Pacific Northwest Ballet (among many others).

CATHY LOWELL:  Accompanist – Concord

Cathy is a Bellevue, WA native and holds a BA of Economics from the University of Washington. Her experience as a collaborative accompanist has spanned over 40 years, starting in the 3rd grade with her elementary choir and orchestra. She has worked professionally as a church organist, freelance performer, accompanist, dance rehearsal pianist, studio musician and music educator and tutor for Bellevue Christian, Northshore School District and Everett School District. Currently Cathy teaches elementary strings and accompanies for several choirs in the Northshore School District. In 2007 she founded Foothills Music Academy in Woodinville, a music studio specializing in private lessons with opportunities for collaborative musicianship to teach young musicians the art of accompanying. When not teaching, she is principal pianist and ensemble cellist for Sammamish Symphony.

ALIENA LOWELL:  Accompanist – Melodia

Aliena Lowell is in her second year at the University of Washington studying neurobiology and biochemistry. She has accompanied choirs from the time she was in fifth grade, including her junior high and high schools as well as the University Chorale. Aliena toured Europe as the jazz pianist for the Washington Ambassadors of Music and performed in seven different countries. She currently is the pianist for the Sammamish Symphony, the University of Washington’s musical theater program, and sings first soprano in the University Chorale. Beyond accompanying, Aliena teaches both piano and voice at Foothills Music Academy in Woodinville.

Kathryn DainesKATHRYN DAINES:  Choir Administrator

Kathryn Daines graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A. in Music with a vocal focus. She has been singing since the age of 11 and has been singing with Columbia Choirs for over fifteen years. She is a member of the Concord Chamber Choir and formerly sang with the Con Brio Women’s Choir. Kathryn works as a paralegal and office manager for a small law firm in Seattle. She lives in Mill Creek with her husband, Ben and two young girls, Ellie and Keira. Kathryn has been on the Columbia Choirs staff since 2011 Contact Kathryn Daines at admin@columbiachoirs.com.

Lars MyrenLARS MYREN:  Marketing Director

Lars Myren has been singing in choirs since before he could even read.  After singing in his school choir starting in Kindergarten, he joined Columbia Choirs at age 10 and made his way up the ranks through Lyrica, Bel Canto, and Cantabile.  After graduating high school, he attended the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington where he received a BA in Business Administration (Marketing).  He now works at the University of Washington as a Video Producer, developing online courses of the College of Education. He is currently a tenor in Concord Chamber Choir.  Contact Lars Myren at marketing@columbiachoirs.com.